TIRELESS health advocate Narelle Langfield has joined forces with Tamworth Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Jeff Bacon to start a petition, calling on the state government to fund a large-scale drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation facility in the electorate.
Ms Langfield has found previous success with petitions – she led the charge for Tamworth’s cancer centre and collected more than 13,000 signatures to lobby for a new Banksia mental health unit.
She’s hoping for similar success in the bid for the rehabilitation facility – an issue that is deeply personal.
Five weeks ago, her son Jason was found in his home, almost starved to death after a detox. He’s now in hospital with irreversible brain damage. Ms Langfield is now looking to move him in to a nursing home, at the age of 45.
“This is why we urgently need more support services in Tamworth – I don’t want other families to go through what I have,” she said.
“Whenever we tried to seek help for Jason, they told us he wasn’t bad enough. You have to be dead before you get help.
“We need a facility like this now.”
Mr Bacon said hundreds of people would end up like Jason if the NSW government continued to stall.
“There’s no reason why Jason’s family should be experiencing this: it could have easily been prevented,” he said.
“A large drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation facility will stop people like Jason falling through the cracks.”
Ms Langfield said she was disappointed in Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson’s lack of action on the region’s health issues.
She felt “used” by Mr Anderson, who told her painful story to NSW parliament in the bid to get funding for a new Banksia mental health facility.
“It looked like this facility would be funded but – 13,080 signatures later and plenty of promises – we’ve got nothing,” Ms Langfield said.
The mental health unit is slated to get funding under the government’s $700 million spend on mental health infrastructure; however, no price tag has been put on the new facility.
Mr Anderson said extensive planning was needed until a figure was settled on.
The Tamworth MP recently announced $365,000 for a refurbishment of the current Banskia facility.